The words “In God We Trust” is printed on the U.S. currency that we use to pay for buildings, books, supplies and the educational staff teaching our children. Yet, the man we trust isn’t allowed in the schools. Seems hypocritical, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. How can a nation pause for a moment of silence and instill hope without acknowledging the existence of the Lord in our every day?
Our nation has been fighting a consistent battle, for what seems like forever, over the role of religion in public education. Questions contesting legal boundaries of expression and how much is too much are always being addressed. Protestors argue that putting Christ back into schools is unconstitutional and creates an uncomfortable environment for children – and their families. Daniel Mach from the American Civil Liberties Union fought the Christian Educators Association in a 2009 court case over Florida teachers’ religious expression at school. “Decisions about the religious upbringing of children should be left in the hands of parents and families, not public-school officials.”
However, many educators are not trying to create lessons plans and other teachings like a church Bible study – instead, teachers are urging other educators and students to act in a godly manner and treat others with kindness and compassion. Everyone has a different relationship with Jesus and that’s completely okay. Teachers especially in a day and age, where school shootings and violence has become ever so prominent, simply want to maintain a level of hope and compassion within their classroom(s).
Some public schools have already began embracing Christ and the Christian faith again. In the south public elementary and middle schools, specifically cities like Nashville, Tennessee, are home to churches. While these church organizations must apply for special grants and privileges to access these schools after hours, the idea of having a deeper faith and exploring that is welcomed and has been for years. Some of the church personnel and members are actually employees of the public school.
Other schools even offer weekend training that incorporates biblical principles organically into the learning environments of the children and staff. Victoria Tomasheski, a middle school teacher in Cleveland attended a training session, at her home school, in 2012. Tomasheski reported that the training was personally and professionally rejuvenating – and she even went on to say that she was thankful for the First Amendment “When they ask: ‘Why are you so positive? Why do you always find a silver lining?’ It’s, ‘To be honest with you, it’s because of my faith,’” she said.
There’s no doubt that there will always be a number of different cultures and religions present and housed within a school. Part of being a Christian means accepting everyone and having an open mind for others – it doesn’t involve forcing others to believe in practices and other ordeals that they believe to be true. Schools all around the world are partnering with communities to serve their students and families and ultimately, create unity and wholeness within their area.
Another city in the south setting an example and answering the call to Christ is Apopka, Florida. They’ve also joined the common phenomenon in the United States and assisted with the church planting initiative; moreover, the building services have provided a source of funding which has been left unfunded by the government. The mingling of church and school has also instilled a sense of encouragement and hope for the lower economic class. The leaders of the Venue Church in Apopka, Florida believe that this is all incredibly good and reassuring for the community at the school and within the church.
Before and after games, coaches in the county of Apopka, Florida pray for the player’s safety. Christian prayers are recited. While the coaches are not forcing the players to say and/or believe the prayers, this time is undoubtfully a time for everyone to express and practice their own religious views. Therefore, bringing Christ back into the school is ultimately instilling faith into an individual’s every day.
Freedom of speech can be a seriously confusing ordeal. Some believe the presence of Christ in our schools is not fair because they didn’t vote him in and others misunderstand the idea of having a freedom of faith. School officials need to think of Christ in schools as having faith, no matter what their religion is, in their educational facility. Therefore, when the schools take a moment of silence to pray, your students and educators can use that time to reconnect with their God – ultimately, Christ believes you have that freedom. Therefore, having Christ in your school, gives your students and educators the freedom to be themselves and love their faith.
Isaiah 1:17 says, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, please the widow’s cause.” Christ wants everyone to do good, seek justice, rid oppression and bring justice to those without the means. He just wants your heart to be in the right place and do the right things.
Everyone needs a little more hope. Everyone needs someone on their side – to help them feel encouraged, to show them the way, or to provide them with that gentle nudge they needed. Christ provides that and we should want that for our children. The goal for elders is to pave the way and give our youth a brighter future. Having Christ within our schools, will give those opportunities to our children. Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” If our youth has an opportunity to start their lives with Christ, they’ll have a better chance of making a more profound and dignified path. Life is hard. There are no guarantees, no golden tickets and no easy roads to take. With that truth in mind, why wouldn’t we want our children to have a better chance at happiness, success, and longevity?
Having Christ in our schools restores those possibilities – and restores our youth’s chances for more.